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What’s New in Public Law


Nakul Nayak, Assistant Professor at Jindal Global Law School, India.


In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books and articles, and blog posts from around the public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Public Law,” please email iconnecteditors@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Constitutional Court of Uganda found a controversial anti-pornography law, which included a ban on “indecent” clothing, unconstitutional.
  2. The Constitutional Tribunal of Poland adjourned its sitting on whether Poland’s Constitution or European Union Treaties take precedence.
  3. The Constitutional Court of South Africa held that the Western Cape Department of Social Development does not have a legal duty to ensure the day-to-day safety of children in places of care. The Court dismissed an appeal by a father who sued for damages suffered by his daughter who was seriously injured while playing at an early childhood development centre.
  4. The Constitutional Court of Costa Rica upheld the constitutionality of mandatory vaccination in the country.
  5. Turkey’s Constitutional Court reversed a lower court decision rejecting a trans woman’s application to change her name because she had not undergone gender reassignment surgery.

In the News

  1. Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament passed law Number 1, 2021, which provides for the direct election of the president of the country and their duties and responsibilities.
  2. Ukraine’s parliament passed a bill that establishes civil liability for acts of “anti-Semitism”.
  3. Malaysian Members of Parliament from both sides of the political divide have been urged to back an amendment to the Federal Constitution. As it stands, the Constitution allows citizenship to be granted to children born overseas to Malaysian fathers only.
  4. El Salvador’s vice president has delivered to President Nayib Bukele the final proposal for constitutional changes, which extends presidential terms and establishes a new electoral tribunal body. Bukele will review the proposals before sending them to Congress, where Bukele’s party has a large majority.
  5. The Taliban announced plans to form a commission next year to draft a new constitution.

New Scholarship

  1. Dragoljub Popovic, Constitutional History of Serbia (displaying the complex constitutional history of Serbia as a case study, following the evolution of concepts such as human rights and the rule of law).
  2. Son Ngoc Bui, Russia’s Big Bang Constitutional Amendments, NYU Journal of International Law and Politics (2021) (arguing that Russia’s 2020 constitutional amendments can be understood as “big-bang constitutional amendments”— amendments that rapidly introduce large-scale change to the existing constitution all at once).
  3. Kevin L. Cope et al, The Global Evolution of Foreign Relations Law (making empirical claims after mapping 108 countries’ foreign relations law choices and motivations over a nearly 200-year period).
  4. Christina Murray, Making and Remaking Kenya’s Constitution (outlining the different processes followed by Kenya to secure constitutional change and exploring their successes and failures).
  5. William Partlett & Dinesha Samararatne, Redeeming the National in Constitutional Argument, World Constitutional Law (forthcoming, arguing that linking national history and the text of the national constitution to constitutionalism can help counter the nationalist backlash against appeals to a supra-national constitutional discourse).
  6. Nakul Nayak, Constitutional Morality: An Indian Framework, American Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming, exploring “constitutional morality” as an idea in intellectual history, as a doctrine developed by Indian courts, and as a phenomenon in the contemporary Indian constitutional and political system).

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law accept submissions for its upcoming 2022 Human Rights Essay Award Competition on “Climate Change and Human Rights: Impacts, Responsibilities, and Opportunities.” The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2022.
  2. Eurac Research will host a webinar on the theme “Democratic system and territorial integration: the effects and consequences of Catalonia’s quest for independence” on October 7, 2021. The webinar will take place in English and Spanish.
  3. The University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law hosts a conference on the theme “(Playing) Constitutional Twister: The Mechanisms of Convergence and Divergence within Multilevel Legal Orders” on October 1 and 2, 2021. The conference will take place in person as well as online via Zoom. Registration is required.
  4. National Law School of India University’s Socio-Legal Review invites submissions for its next issue. Deadline for submission of abstracts if October 15, 2021.
  5. The Nordic CONREASON Project will host a webinar series to discuss the institutional context of constitutional reasoning in the Nordic countries beginning November 24, 2021.
  6. The Verfassungsblog hosts an online symposium entitled “International Pandemic Lawmaking: Conceptual and Practical Issues”. Posts can be found here.
  7. The Stellenbosch University Law Clinic (SULC), supported by the International Association of Legal Ethics (IAOLE), will host a two-day virtual conference on November 29 and 30, 2021 on the theme “COVID-19: Ethics under pressure.” SULC welcomes proposals for presentations. The deadline is September 30, 2021.
  8. The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and SAIFAC will host a book launch on Berihun Adugna Gebeye’s A Theory of African Constitutionalism (OUP, 2021). The launch will take place online on November 3, 2021
  9. Hon. Margaret McMurdo AC has launched the Feminist Judgments and Critical Judgments Projects website

Elsewhere Online

  1. Balkinization organizes an online symposium on the book by Rosalind Dixon and David Landau on “Abusive Constitutional Borrowing: Legal globalization and the subversion of liberal democracy.”
  2. Dragoș Călin, The priority of the EU law in Romania: between reality and Fata Morgana, Official Blog of UNIO-EU Law Journal.
  3. Raghav Ahooja & Torsha Sarkar, How (Not) to Regulate the Internet: Lessons from the Indian Subcontinent, LAWFARE.
  4. Judge Patrick J. Bumatay, The Value of Dissent, US Constitution Day 2021 Lecture at Stanford Constitutional Law Center.
  5. Nurina Ally and Tess Peacock, Constitutional Court provides certainty: Provinces are not liable for injuries at Early Childhood Development centres, Maverick Citizen.
  6. Primah Kwagala, Annulment of the Anti-pornography law, The Independent.
  7. Paul Burgess, Why We Need to Abandon ‘The Rule of Law,’ IACL-AIDC Blog.
  8. Tariro Sekeramayi, The South African local government elections and the COVID-19 pandemic, AfricLaw.
  9. Gautam Bhatia, Affirmative Action as a Remedy for Dispossession: The Judgment of the Ugandan Constitutional Court, Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy.
  10. Costa Avgoustinos, The ‘Ecological Limitation’: Exploring the Implications of Climate Change for the Australian Constitution, AUSPUBLAW.
  11. Renato Saeger Magalhães Costa, Substantive Values in Administrative Law – A Principle of ‘Jurisdicity’ to Complement the Principle of Legality, Admin Law Blog.
  12. Simon Drugda, The People v Their Representatives: The Slovak Constitutional Court Blocks Referendum on Early Election, Verfassungsblog
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Published on September 27, 2021
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